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Ricercar Consort - Blow & Purcell : Odes and Songs

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Blow & Purcell : Odes and Songs

Ricercar Consort

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Give credit to countertenors Carlos Mena (from Spain) and Damien Guillon (from France): it's very hard to tell here that you're listening to anything other than native English speakers, and even the booklet, with full texts in English, French, and German, is not really necessary to understand the original words. The music by Blow mentioned on the cover consists only of the Ode on the Death of Mr. Henry Purcell, used here as a sort of introduction. These are fine performances of Purcell, with a program nicely divided up into songs (mostly excerpts from operas or mixed-genre semi-operas), odes (honorific pieces), and instrumental pieces, many of them excerpts from longer works. This gives a sense of why some of Purcell's melodies are so insanely catchy: within their tuneful frameworks they cross genres. The more ceremonial odes are built up out of successions of dramatic gestures, while the songs often have intricate details that belie their simple overall forms. Mena's rich, rounded tone is a pleasure in itself, and his duet work with Guillon is fresh and cleanly executed. The paired flutes of Belgium's Ricercar Ensemble contribute readings that hold together well with the vocal music. Sample one of the countertenor duets, such as No, resistance is but vain (track 10), to hear the fine duet work and the expert avoidance of the cuteness factor that can ruin a Purcell recording. Over-resonant sound from a French Protestant church, the Temple de Lourmarin, detracts from the overall atmosphere.
© TiVo

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Blow & Purcell : Odes and Songs

Ricercar Consort

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1
An Ode on the Death of Mr. Henry Purcell
00:22:02

Carlos Mena, alto - Damien Guillon, counter-tenor - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

2
Here let my life
00:02:48

Carlos Mena, alto - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

3
But ah, I see Eusebia drown’d in tears
00:03:00

Damien Guillon, counter-tenor - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

4
Symphony for the Flutes
00:01:51

Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

5
Strike the viol
00:02:03

Carlos Mena, alto - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

6
Her charming strains
00:03:04

Damien Guillon, counter-tenor - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

7
Chaconne
00:07:37

Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

8
A Song in the Prophetess
00:04:03

Carlos Mena, alto - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

9
Symphony for the Flutes
00:01:42

Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

10
No, no resistance is but vain
00:04:24

Carlos Mena, alto - Damien Guillon, counter-tenor - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

11
I loved fair Celia
00:01:52

Carlos Mena, alto - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

12
Sweetness of Nature
00:02:54

Carlos Mena, alto - Damien Guillon, counter-tenor - Ricercar Consort - Philippe Pierlot, conductor

Album Description

Give credit to countertenors Carlos Mena (from Spain) and Damien Guillon (from France): it's very hard to tell here that you're listening to anything other than native English speakers, and even the booklet, with full texts in English, French, and German, is not really necessary to understand the original words. The music by Blow mentioned on the cover consists only of the Ode on the Death of Mr. Henry Purcell, used here as a sort of introduction. These are fine performances of Purcell, with a program nicely divided up into songs (mostly excerpts from operas or mixed-genre semi-operas), odes (honorific pieces), and instrumental pieces, many of them excerpts from longer works. This gives a sense of why some of Purcell's melodies are so insanely catchy: within their tuneful frameworks they cross genres. The more ceremonial odes are built up out of successions of dramatic gestures, while the songs often have intricate details that belie their simple overall forms. Mena's rich, rounded tone is a pleasure in itself, and his duet work with Guillon is fresh and cleanly executed. The paired flutes of Belgium's Ricercar Ensemble contribute readings that hold together well with the vocal music. Sample one of the countertenor duets, such as No, resistance is but vain (track 10), to hear the fine duet work and the expert avoidance of the cuteness factor that can ruin a Purcell recording. Over-resonant sound from a French Protestant church, the Temple de Lourmarin, detracts from the overall atmosphere.
© TiVo

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